BCCI questions Dravid, Rohit for World Cup final loss; head coach blames pitch | Cricket - Hindustan Times
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BCCI questions Rahul Dravid and Rohit Sharma for World Cup final loss; coach blames Ahmedabad pitch: Report

Dec 02, 2023 04:05 PM IST

Dravid reportedly blamed the Ahmedabad pitch for India's loss in the World Cup final. He said the pitch did not turn as much as the Indian team expected.

11 days after the painful and heartbreaking loss in the World Cup final to Australia, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials sat with head coach Rahul Dravid to review India's performance in the tournament. India captain Rohit Sharma also joined the meeting via video call. He was in London on a holiday and the meeting took place in New Delhi on Thursday. India was easily one of the best (if not the best) performing teams in the tournament with 10 wins in a row but they faltered when it mattered the most, losing the final to Australia by six wickets. Another agenda of the meeting was also to select the Indian ODI, T20I and Test squads for the South Africa tour and get an idea about the future course of action.

India's captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid(PTI)
India's captain Rohit Sharma and head coach Rahul Dravid(PTI)

BCCI secretary, Jay Shah, vice president, Rajeev Shukla and treasurer, Ashish Shelar attended the meeting and according to a report in Dainik Jagran, the board officials asked coach Dravid, who has been given an extension after his contract got over on November 19, and captain Rohit about the reasons behind India's below-par show in the summit clash on November 19.

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Dravid reportedly blamed the pitch at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. The former India captain said the pitch did not turn as much as the Indian team management expected it would have. And that was one of the major reasons behind India not being able to strangle Australia in the chase.

Why a slow pitch for the final in Ahmedabad?

Notably, the pitch for the final was a used one. It was the same strip used for the league match against Pakistan. India had won that match quite comfortably but one of the major factors was the toss. Pakistan had batted first in the game and struggled to get going in the middle-overs, just like India in the finals. Despite a brisk start by captain Rohit, India's Virat Kohli and KL Rahul just couldn't build any momentum in the middle-overs.

There were two main reasons behind that - the excessively slow nature of the pitch and the impeccable execution of the Australian bowlers.

The used pitch was chosen on the advice of the local curator. While no ICC rule makes preparing a fresh pitch mandatory for knockout matches in a World Cup, generally, a fresh pitch is advisable. But for this World Cup, all the knockout matches were played on used pitches.

The pitch for the final was watered less for it to assist the spinners more but it backfired for India. The pitch did not offer much turn but got very slow, especially in the first half. Australia stumped India by opting to field first after winning the toss as they knew the pitch was likely to get easier under lights. That's exactly what happened. Indian batters struggled to get going in the first innings and stuttered their way to 240. In reply, Australia, despite losing three early wickets, rode home riding on the back of a superb century from Travis Head.

The report adds that the BCCI officials also asked Dravid for the reasons behind opting for such a plan when the Indian seamers led by Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah were doing pretty well. The head coach said the same plan had worked for them during the entire tournament but the final.

Most of India's World Cup squad members and the entire support staff were given a break from the five-match T20I series against Australia. They will return at the helm from the South Africa tour, which will also mark the beginning of India's quest to end their long wait for an ICC trophy. India will play three T20Is - among the remaining seven before the World Cup in June next year, three ODIs and two Tests - as part of the World Test Championship.

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